In honor of World No Tobacco Day, we’d like to offer some health tips to quit smoking.

“It’s not hard to quit smoking” might sound very easy. But for those who actually smoke, this might seem to be something next to impossible. Smokers simply “feel good” when they are smoking. It’s not just a physical dependence on the tobacco but also a psychological one. Some people smoke to eliminate stress, depression and some even use it to whisk away boredom.

For some people, it’s just a daily routine. Smoking while reading a magazine or watching television just provide them with more enjoyment.

How do I Even Begin to Quit Smoking?

Create a personal diary, call “My Quit Book” and answer some of these questions:

  • Why do I want to quit? Acknowledging the reasons and reading them regularly will strengthen your will power?
  • Is my smoking linked with other addictions like drinking or gambling?
  • How strong is my will power (from a scale of 0 to 10)?
  • When should I start? What is my plan of action?
  • What will be the penalty if you fail (e.g. take the train or bus rather than drive to work )?
  • Reward yourself if successful for short periods to start with (e.g. buy yourself flowers for the first week of success, enjoy a shopping hour for 2 weeks of success, etc.)
  • Do you have healthy activities that you can take part in, like exercising, gardening, solving puzzles. These activities will keep you distracted.
  • Create some pressure and accountability for yourself. Let your family and friends know about your goal. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that quitting with a friend who also wants to quit increases the chances of success.

What’s next:

  • Eliminate the presence of cigarettes, lighters, matches, ashtrays from your home, car, workplace, and wherever possible. These items remind you of the habit and can make things difficult. Clean the linen, upholstery, clothing that houses the smell of smoke.
  • Keep a record of the situations when you have most cravings and what you did to curb it. This will help you be stronger next time a similar situation arises.
  • When you feel that the triggers to smoke are approaching, distract yourself. Engage in any activity that involves hand movements or lip movements (e.g. call a friend, tidy up a drawer, knit, solve a puzzle, karaoke, etc.)
  • Identify the cause of smoking. If boredom is the cause, then develop healthy habits like yoga, gardening, pet walking, etc. If stress, try meditation, slow spiritual music, or taking a bath.

As you become successful for a day, a week, a month and a year, refer to the list of rewards in your “My Quit Book.” Nothing is more satisfying than fulfilling the mission that you undertake.

Consult a doctor if needed. They can recommend an NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy). NRT is a gum or a patch that releases nicotine without the harmful substances. Some medications help you stop smoking by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms without the use of nicotine. Medications such as bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix) are intended for short-term use only.

Quitting tobacco is one of the best gifts that you can give to yourself and your family. Thousands of people have been successful in their missions and they thank themselves everyday. You can, too. Try it, conquer it, and be successful.

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